Top Tips To Improve Communication With Your Primary Care Physician About Depression
In a new survey, the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association revealed
depressing results about doctor/patient communication; in a survey they found that consistent
and open communication about treatment for depression and antidepressant side
effects simply does not occur often enough-or thoroughly enough-between patients
and their primary care doctors. This information is particularly troubling
since the survey also showed that people with depression rely chiefly on their
primary care doctors for treatment of their mental illness. This communication
gap can result in problems with troublesome and unaddressed side effects, lack
of compliance with antidepressant therapy, and failed or delayed recovery for
people suffering from depression.
DMDA offers the following tips to get you moving towards better communication
with your doctor:
- Make a list of what you want to discuss with your doctor and take
notes. Write down your questions if necessary. Refer to your
notes during your appointment so you can remember each issue you want to cover.
It's also a good idea to write down the doctor's recommendations and instructions
- and confirm what you have heard.
- Ask about side effects. If your antidepressant side effects
are bothersome or persistent, or if your depression is less than completely
controlled, you may have other treatment options. . .Ask your doctor. . .Let
your doctor know about your concerns and work together to choose a treatment
plan that is acceptable to you. Do not skip doses or stop taking your
antidepressant medication without talking to your doctor first!
- Work with your doctor to identify any hidden side effects you might
be experiencing. It can be difficult to distinguish certain side
effects of antidepressant medication from the symptoms of depression itself.
For example, weight gain and sexual problems can be caused by either the disease
or by antidepressants. Pay close attention to areas where you expected to
see improvements that have not occurred, or physical changes that you may
- Discuss the most important or most difficult question(s) first.
Help ensure that your doctor understands the importance of your concerns
by bringing up your most pressing issues at the beginning of your appointment.
- Help your doctor make time for you. If you need more
than 10 minutes to discuss your progress or concerns at your next doctor's
appointment, let the doctor's office know in advance. Also, if you have a
number of questions or if you want to discuss a subject that may be awkward,
such as sexual problems, request to begin your appointment in the doctor's
office rather than the exam room. You may feel more comfortable discussing
these issues if you are dressed.
Click here for related information.
Created: 4/9/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
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